It’s started to feel a little bit as though something—luck, the universe, fate, your favourite deity or deities—is against Liverpool. Facing the prospect of failing to win the league with 97 points. Playing Barcelona level at the Nou Camp and being all but out of the tie.
For Liverpool fans, the last few weeks have been a less than enjoyable experience. But the season isn’t over. Not quite yet. For now, there’s still a chance—slim, but a chance—and while it exists the players intend to do everything they can to overcome their situation.
“We face a big challenge tonight but it’s one we’re all looking forward to,” Jordan Henderson said in the matchday programme. “Our fans know the scale of what we’re trying to do. We’re facing one of the best club sides of all time and have a big deficit to overcome.
“You should never make promises in football about the outcome, but I can guarantee whichever 11 players take to the pitch we are going to give everything. We’re not just playing for pride—that’s not enough for Liverpool—we’re playing to win and make the final.”
Nobody doubts Liverpool could beat Barcelona, especially at Anfield. The problem for the Reds is that despite playing them level or close to it at the Nou Camp, last week’s match ended with them not just down three goals but with no away goal to show for their efforts.
That means they need to reverse last week’s scoreline to take the tie to extra time and penalties. It means they need four more than Barcelona tonight to win outright—either 4-0 or 5-1 or 6-2. It’s a tough, tough task ahead. But, until the final whistle, there is hope.
“Whether we can do it we’ll find out at full-time,” Henderson added, “but we owe it to the fans to make sure until the final whistle goes we never stop. Enough has been said about the first leg. It’s done with. The only game we can affect is the next and that’s tonight.”